Gabe met the new mounting block on Saturday and after a couple big-eyed snorty looks at it, accepted it just fine. He wanted to eat it more than anything. He licked it a few times, sniffed it and went on with his business.
I spent some time walking up and down the steps, leading him with me and having him just stand next to it while I leaned over him. He didn't want to stand still so well...as soon as he felt weight on his back, he either swung his butt out and away or tried walking off. We spent about 20 minutes working on just standing still before I could lay over his back without him walking off or wiggling around. Progress!
I did this all bareback with just a halter and lead and he was very accepting. He does, however, have a bad habit that will be broken immediately. I've mentioned before how very mouthy he is: He chews on the lead rope while tied, he swings his head around and swipes his saddle pad, he manages to get the longe line or long reins up into his mouth while I'm working him and chews, chews, chews the bit the entire time I'm working him. I'm thinking about investing in a new copper snaffle with a roller to keep his mouth occupied. He even tries to get the bridle into his mouth when I pull it over his head and I busted him chewing on his sheet last week. The turd. When he and Chief are having "conversations" over the fence he likes to grab Chief's halter and just not let go. This is not a good public relations move for him in Chief's mind!
While I was leaning over his back he kept reaching around and sniffing my butt and using that top lip to "snuffle" around...he didn't bite, but I'm pretty sure he would have if I hadn't kept an eye on his antics! Just lifting my foot and moving it towards his nose got the muzzle off my butt.
So, it's a start and the mounting block is the perfect height for him.